Samantha Turnbull is a Suffolk Park-based journalist, mother-of-two and children’s author.
Her latest book – Cruise Control – is the fifth in her popular Anti-Princess Club series.
Sam was inspired to write the series after becoming fed up with princesses being plastered on every product in her new daughter’s life – from her nappies to her baby food to the endless toys and clothes. Sam decided she wanted to help raise a generation of girls whose self worth was not based on what they saw in the mirror, and who didn’t aspire to be rescued by a prince. (The Anti-Princess Club motto is ‘we don’t need rescuing’.)
KP – Claim to fame/day job/hobby/what are you known for?
Lately my claim to fame is that I’m the author of the five-book children’s series The Anti-Princess Club (published by Allen & Unwin this year). I’m also a multimedia reporter for the ABC and very lucky to be based in their North Coast bureau. I’m also mum to Liberty and Jonah.
KP – Is it your passion or just something you do?
Writing is definitely my passion. I’ve always been a writer and made my main crust through journalism, but about five years ago when I had my first child I took the time to try writing a novel. I wish I tried sooner, because I got a publishing contract pretty easily which I’m only realising now is a pretty rare thing.
My other passion is breaking down gender stereotypes in childhood. We’re really lucky to live in a broadly open-minded community here in the Byron Shire, but in the wider world there’s still a big ‘pink and blue’ divide. I want my daughter to aim for more than the princess fantasy that places emphasis on looking beautiful and finding a prince. And I want my son to embrace his sensitive side and not feel like he has to always be a tough warrior/superhero to fit in.
KP – What is your greatest career achievement?
I cried when I first saw my books in Big W – and then again when I saw them in Target, and again at the airport. It was a big deal to get them in all of those mainstream chains straight away.
I guess it’s also pretty major that they’re being released in the US in April.
KP – How do you give back to your community?
Lately I’ve been visiting local schools and running workshops and talking about becoming an author in an effort to get kids excited about reading and writing.
I’ve also been donating a lot of books to some of the more disadvantaged schools.
KP – What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I never feel happier than when I’m relaxing with my awesome kids and husband at the beach. I don’t feel like I need anything else in those moments.
KP – What is your greatest extravagance?
Well, we just bought a second house in Suffolk Park – the thought of our mortgages makes me a little sick.
KP – Typical day?
School run, drive to ABC office in Lismore then depending on the news of the day could end up anywhere between Grafton, Tenterfield and Tweed. Home to Suffolk, kids’ bath and bed, then up into the wee hours writing fiction.
KP – Favourite inspirational quote?
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
KP – Science or religion or both?
Science, hands down (although I do have citrine crystals on my desk at home – so maybe I am a teeny tiny bit hippie).
KP – What is your favourite Travel destination/why?
New Orleans is the best place I’ve ever been. It was an amazing contrast to the rest of the US – so unique and colourful with beautiful art, music and people.
KP – What is your most noticeable characteristic?
Physically, I’m very short – five foot nothing – so I guess that’s what people notice first. Personality-wise, I giggle too much (if there’s such a thing as too much when it comes to giggling).
KP – Who is your favourite superhero?
Captain Planet… or April O’Neill from the Ninja Turtles (does she count?)
KP – Who are your heroes in real life?
My nan is pretty awesome – she just turned 80 and she’s totally embracing life as if she were 21 again. She’s part of a club called the Merry Widows who play loads of golf, drink wine and travel overseas. She rode an elephant in Thailand not long ago and travelled across Australia on the Ghan solo.
KP – What do you value most in your friends?
Laughter and not taking life too seriously.
KP – What is your most treasured possession?
My children aren’t really ‘possessions’ but they’re my greatest treasures. I can’t really think of anything material.
KP – If you could choose what to come back as what/who would it be?
Beyonce. She seems to have quite the rad life with a fair amount of power thrown in.
KP – Which words phrases do you overuse?
‘No’ and ‘go back to bed’ – I have a five-year-old and a two-year-old.
Photos thanks to Natalie Grono